PTSD, Depression Weaken Cardiovascular Response to Stress in Women with Fibromyalgia, Study Suggests

PTSD, Depression Weaken Cardiovascular Response to Stress in Women with Fibromyalgia, Study Suggests
The presence of post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) in women with fibromyalgia (FM) further weakens their cardiovascular response to stress, which seems to depend largely on the presence of depression symptoms, a study reports. According to researchers, the results underline the importance of detecting and treating PTSD and concomitant depression for the successful management of FM. The study, "Cardiovascular Responses of Women with Fibromyalgia to a Laboratory Stressor: Does Post-traumatic Stress Disorder Comorbidity Matter?" was published in the journal Pain Medicine. Post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) is a mental health disorder common among FM patients, reported in more than half the patients in some studies. This disorder shares some physiological characteristics with FM, including a lower cardiovascular response — heart rate and blood pressure — upon experiencing stress. In addition, PTSD and depression, often associated with FM, have been shown to mediate the relationship between early trauma and pain severity. Stress is also known to worsen the feelings of pain in the everyday lives of women with FM. Therefore, "it seems of particular importance to shed light on the possible contributions of PTSD and depression to the efficiency of the stress response in patients with FM," the authors of the study wrote. Led by researchers with the
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